Samford Giddy over Latest Recruiting Class
By Russell V.
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Samford-co-offensive coordinator Travis Trickett is extremely excited about the Bulldogs' most recent recruiting class.
It was 2 p.m. EST on National Signing Day and Samford had officially announced their recruiting class just hours earlier. Months of hard work, traveling, calls and waiting had finally come to an end.
Bulldogs co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Travis Trickett could barely contain his excitement. He held in his hand a list of 16 names; 16 young men who had decided to come play for Coach Trickett and the Bulldogs.
Putting the finishing touches on arguably the top recruiting class in school history, Trickett sounded as giddy as a school girl who had just met Justin Bieber. And he had good reason to be happy.
“I’m excited about all of them,” Trickett said of his recruits. “Every single one of them I’m excited about. Every single position I’m excited about.”
Samford head coach Pat Sullivan called his class “the most balanced class we've had since we've been at Samford” and it looks the part, with nine offensive players,seven defensive players and 14 players coming from the states of Alabama and Florida, both known for being football hotbeds.
Most importantly though, this class represents a step in the right direction for Samford.
“This class is really a class that is going to be a foundation class,” Tricket said. “This is the first class that we’ve really filled some holes and signed a nice sized class of guys who can come in and compete. We’re ecstatic. We got big guys up front, we got big guys out wide, we got a quarterback that’s going to have time to develop, a tight end that’s going to have time to develop … we got a defensive line – same deal. … Linebacker was a position we secured with the transfer (Justin Cooper from Texas Tech) and Jamie Major.
“We’ve filled in every hole that we had to fill. That’s one thing that is absolutely critical – we filled with quality. Not just quantity, not just numbers, but quality. Very rare do you go into a recruiting class on Signing Day and you get everybody that you wanted and that you really wanted for a long time, especially at our level.”
Perhaps the position Trickett was most excited about was the offensive line. He has plenty of knowledge of the position – his father, Rick, is an offensive line coach at Florida State – and admitted that while he was ecstatic for every player and every position group the Bulldogs recruited, he loved what the team was able to get: four linemen, all 6’3” or bigger, weighing 260 pounds or more.
“I know the game is won in the trenches,” he said. “I am extremely excited about the offensive linemen we had commit (to us). I’m stoked about our quarterback. I’m stoked about our wide receivers. On defense, I’m excited to go against those guys every day in practice. But, being a guy that knows the game is won and lost in the trenches, our offensive line class – we addressed our needs there. We got bigger. We got more athletic. We got a lot of things we can’t coach. … I cannot reiterate enough that I love every single one of these guys.”
“As a class overall, I think we addressed a lot of our needs,” he added. “But we also addressed a lot of things we want to do as a team, we want to mold this team to be. And one thing we want to be is we want to be bigger and faster than our opponent. I think we really increased our team speed and team size. … Especially on offense, we addressed our size up front.”
Trickett was quick to deflect any individual recognition to his fellow coaches for the team’s recruiting class. Instead, he focused on how it was a total team effort to bring the players in and keep them loyal to the Bulldogs.
“Our coaching staff did a great job of laying a foundation early,” he said. “No one coach takes credit for one guy because we try to get as many coaches involved as possible. And our (players) do a great job when (the recruits) come on campus. We really try to lay that foundation so that when a kid does fall in love with Samford, it doesn’t matter who comes in on them – they are hopefully going to stay true to us. And that happened. That also speaks to the kind of kid we recruit – we aren’t going to recruit a kid with questionable character. We had kids who committed (to us) and you wouldn’t believe some of the teams that would come in and offer to them.”
“To an outside person looking in, you’d probably say, ‘That’s a no brainer – you can go to that other school,’” he added. “But there’s more to this decision than the football aspect. … Some people don’t care about bowl games – they want to win national championships. Some kids care about eductation. Some kids care about how they fit into a system or the people that’s going to coach and care about them. So every one of our kids ended up having a ‘bigger offer.’ … Anybody at this level, anybody in the SoCon has to fight this battle. It’s not about the ‘bigger school,’ it’s all about where you fit as an individual, what’s going to prepare you for life. This isn’t a five-year decision – it’s a rest of your life decision that’s going to affect you.”
But, like with most teams, this recruiting class has no effect on the team’s hopes and ambitions for the 2013 campaign. As Trickett put it, it takes a lot more than that to change a team’s expectations.
“Our expectations never waver,” he said. “Our expectations are championships and nothing less. That’s the standard we hold ourselves to on the field and in everything else we do.”